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Cannes and Shanghai Film Festivals Bridge Cultural Differences

Director of Cannes’ Marche du Film Jerome Paillard highlighted a need for better mutual understanding to bridge the cultural differences between France and China at a press conference organized by the Shanghai International Film Festival on the sidelines of the market.

“The truth is that the exchange between China and the rest of the world certainly has huge potential but is not yet in a mature situation. We see many reasons — of course the culture is different, and of course subjects [don’t always work as well] in different places. The Chinese market is so huge that perhaps it’s not a top priority for Chinese filmmakers to go abroad. We see a need to develop those collaborations,” he said Friday.

“I think the [most important thing] is we both get a better understanding of how we work in each country, since the ways to finance, to write and to develop are very, very different in China and in other countries.”

The Shanghai International Film Festival will take place June 15-24. This year it received nearly 4,000 submissions from 112 countries, marking “a significant increase” from previous years, organizers said. It has yet to announce its line-up.

The government-affiliated festival also emphasized its alignment with official priorities and anniversaries. “This year marks the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China. China’s cultural soft power and cultural influences have significantly improved,” a representative of the festival said, while an official promotional video spoke of how “to preserve cultural confidence in the new era, a new chapter will begin” for the event.

Last year the festival set up a “Belt and Road Film Festival Alliance” with countries involved in Chinese president Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road global infrastructure-building project. In the past year, seven other countries including Israel and Iran have joined up, bringing participants up to 38 member institutions from 33 countries.

The festival unveiled its poster, a tribute to the original animated Monkey King character from the 1960s, and announced master classes with Filipino director Brillante Mendoza and Israeli helmer Nadav Lapid.

Shanghai Film Group was in attendance to present their new film “Climbers,” a patriotic tale starring Jackie Chan and Wu Jing of Han Chinese and Tibetans working together “organized by the Chinese Communist Party” to achieve the first ascent of Mount Everest from its northern side. It is scheduled to hit theaters September 30, just in time for the country’s National Day holiday, the company told Variety.

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